- historical event: Sultan Ibrahim I loved obese women, to the extent that he was obsessed with them. Apparently he sent his agents to find the most obese women around.
On this day one of the most unusual Turkish sultans in history was born. His name was Ibrahim I and he was born in Istanbul – the capital of the great Ottoman Empire. Interestingly, the name Ibrahim is actually only a way to pronounce the biblical name of Abraham, just like Suleiman is actually Solomon (after King Solomon), Harun – Aaron, Musa – Moses etc.
Before coming to the throne, Sultan Ibrahim spent his youth in the so-called cage (Kafes). It was an enclosed part of the harem in which younger brothers of a reigning sultan were kept in a kind of captivity. Namely, the sultans were afraid that their younger brothers would overthrow them, so they were kept isolated and under guard. If this seems cruel, we should note that it was actually a humane progress compared to what was previously done with younger brothers. The former practice was for a sultan to kill all of his younger brothers so as to eliminate the potential competition (not only for them, but also for their sons – in Muslim countries the throne didn’t always pass to the eldest son, but usually passed from brother to brother).
Ibrahim’s older brother, who was the Sultan before him, also had his brothers killed, but he spared Ibrahim because he seemed too mentally disturbed to pose a threat. When the older brother died, Ibrahim became sultan.
Ibrahim loved obese women, to the extent that he was obsessed with them. Apparently he sent his agents to find the most obese women around. In Georgia, then the northern part of the Ottoman Empire, they found a candidate who reportedly weighed around 150 kg. Sultan Ibrahim was so pleased with her that he gave her a high government salary and the title of Governor of Damascus. She got the nickname Şeker Pare (literally “a piece of sugar”, the name of a famous Turkish dessert).
Ibrahim’s mental instability also had an aggressive side. He allegedly had all 280 members of his harem drowned when he learned that the harem was tarnished by another man. Because of similar incidents, the sultan was eventually deposed. The coup against him was led by the very Sheikh ul-Islam (the title of the highest religious leader in the Ottoman Empire). Ibrahim was strangled and was succeeded by his 6-year-old son, Mehmed IV.